Just as it’s difficult to predict who will win the Premier League race this year, it’s going to be even harder to pick which three clubs will be relegated. After watching all of the teams play, none of them look like relegation candidates.
Sure, one week ago Spurs looked like relegation certainties, but with Harry Houdini in charge, the likelihood of them escaping the drop has increased significantly. Newcastle has regained their form and look destined to climb the table under the tutelage of Joe Kinnear. Even Bolton, the club that so many people love to hate, are playing relatively decent football and getting results.
The battle of the bottom of the Premier League is already much closer this season than it was last year after the same number of games had been played. Here’s how the bottom half of the league table looked twelve months ago on October 28, 2007:
12. Reading 13 pts
13. Birmingham, 11 pts
14. Fulham, 9 pts
15. Sunderland, 9 pts
16. Wigan, 8 pts
17. Middlesbrough, 8 pts
18. Spurs, 7 pts
19. Bolton, 6 pts
20. Derby, 6 pts
And here’s how it looks as of today:
12. Stoke, 13 pts
13. Blackburn, 13 pts
14. Newcastle, 12 pts
15. Sunderland, 12 pts
16. Fulham, 11 pts
17. Wigan, 11 pts
18. Bolton, 11 pts
19. West Brom, 11 pts
20. Spurs, 9 pts
As you can see, Spurs have already won more points than the bottom five clubs from this time last year. Plus, it’s hard to believe, but Spurs have more points now than they did 12 months ago.
One more point to consider. Last year, 7 points separated last place to 12th position. This time, the gap is only four points.
So the teams at the bottom this season have earned more points than before and the race is closer. Even a club such as West Bromwich Albion, who have been the least impressive of the three promoted teams, has shown that it can play football and has been incredibly lucky at times such as when they outplayed Hull but still lost 3-0, and last weekend when they let in a last minute equalizer against Blackburn. The one thing that West Brom is missing is a giant win over a big Premier League club. Hull and Stoke have done it. Now it’s time for WBA to do the same.
If you look at the list above of the nine teams in the bottom half of the table, each of them have impressed on different occasions throughout the season so far, and none of them — right now — deserve to go down.
At this rate, it makes you wonder how many teams will be trying to avoid relegation on the last day of the season.
Which Premier League clubs do you think will get relegated this season?